As the new Big Daddy of Trof's family of Manchester bars, clubs, diners and gig venues, Gorilla combines all of these various functions in one well thought-out railway arch. Located on the burgeoning Manchester nightlife hotspot of Whitworth Street, Gorilla's stripped-back sophistication, imaginative food and drink menu and great programme of gigs and club nights has already made quite an impact on the city since it opened last year - so we went along to discover more.
Taking advantage of the architectural gems left to Manchester by our starring role in the Industrial Revolution, Gorilla fits snugly into a 19th century railway arch close to the other Oxford Road bars, and makes good use of the unusual space with a large ground floor bar/diner and a mezzanine 'gin parlour' tucked neatly under the curved roof. The understated, 1960s inspired decor is stripped back and effortlessly stylish, with wooden canteen style furniture, tiled walls, leather booths and easily the most comfortable bar stools in the city. Heading deeper into the arched tunnel, you'll find one of the best live venues in Manchester, which hosts regular gigs, club nights and other live events against a distinctive backdrop created out of metal safe doors.
Gorilla's mix of stylish decor, great cocktails and delicious food make it one of the top bars in Manchester
The Clientele and Atmosphere
As one of the key players in the recent 'trendification' of Whitworth Street, Gorilla pulls a cool crowd of Northern Quarter types looking for an alternative to their regular Northern Quarter bars, as well as gig-goers spilling out of The Ritz across the road. Daytimes have a relaxed buzz about them, with drinkers, diners and general hanger-outers enjoying the atmosphere and taking advantage of the ample people-watching opportunities provided by the bar's double height glass frontage. Evenings take a livelier turn thanks to nightly DJs, though the music is never too loud or raucous to get in the way of a good conversation.
Food is served in the main restaurant bar area, upstairs, or even at the bar itself - just pull up a stool and order.
The Food and Drinks
Gorilla strikes a great balance between bar and restaurant and has a relaxed attitude to dining, with food served until late every night of the week. The food menu caters to every whim, time of day and social occasion, with gourmet sandwiches, colourful salads, interesting snacks and sharer platters mixing it up alongside hearty staples from the grill (the kebabs are a speciality) and - as is to be expected from any trendy eatery these days - a strong burger and hotdog offering. The sweet, sticky and spicy Gorilla Dog (£7.50) is a game-changer. 11 breakfast dishes are sever until 4pm, four roasts (£12.50) are served until 10pm on Sundays, and each day the chef whips up a different selection of specials and soups. Whatever you go for, make sure it's accompanied by a portion of Deluxe Fries (£3.50), seasoned with Truffle Oil and Parmesan. Trust us on this one.
In terms of drinks, the Gin Parlour is the star of the show here, with a full selection of imaginative Gin cocktails created with some of the best Gins from around the world, as well as Gorilla's house produced Buttered Gin and homemade tonics. If the old Mother's Ruin isn't your thing then you'll be well catered for with a diverse choice of whiskey, vodka and rum based cocktails, as well as a good selection of bottled, canned and draught beers and wine served in sociable carafes.
The upstairs gin parlour serves up some of the finest cocktails in Manchester
It's not easy to be this good at so many different things, but Gorilla manages to pull it off and then some. No matter what the day, the time, or the occasion, Gorilla has it covered. From the spot-on decor to the sophisticated drinks menu and creative food offering, there's a real sense of quality that runs through everything that Gorilla does, which forms the basis of its entire appeal. Trendy without being contrived, high-quality without pretension, and effortlessly cool without being too-cool-for-school (hey, learning is fun!), Gorilla is the real deal. So grab some pri-mates (sorry), and head on down.